CEOs hear Colin Powell hit NC voting law changes

Aug. 22, 2013 @ 01:30 PM

North Carolina's new voting law hurts the Republican Party by driving away potential supporters and punishes minority voters, former top Pentagon general Colin Powell said Thursday.

Powell spoke at a CEO forum at a Raleigh country club attended by Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who signed the GOP-backed law last week. Powell's comments represent some of the highest-profile criticism of the law that requires certain government-issued photo IDs to vote, shortens early voting days and makes it harder for students to cast ballots, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

"These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away," said Powell, President George W. Bush's former secretary of state. "What it really says to the minority voters is ... 'We really are sort-of punishing you.'"

Powell disputed arguments by McCrory and some legislative Republicans that voter fraud likely exists but is hard to detect.

"You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud," Powell said. "How can it be widespread and undetected?"